Scenes You Have Always Wanted to Have...



  • I was thinking today about scenes I've always wanted to have, but either due to being a self-admitted genre whore, or because I could never make them organically happen, they've never come up. Are there any scenes you hoped to have but haven't gotten there yet? I'll share.

    • The hilariously bungled crime job or super intense crime job. One is like the bank heist and street gunfight from Heat with DeNiro. The other is the opposite, people yelling and slapping at each other version.
    • The unsexy lap dance: I've seen plenty of players play strippers, but I never did get that horrible lapdance scene where the girl was holding a fifth of vodka and slurring the words to Bad Company
    • Character death. I have never had a character, be it a power base character or a toadie (like a Ghoul/Kinfolk) get waxed for failing or reaching too far. Risk is vital to me in the rp experience. If there's no risk, it feels like Sim-Vampire, so I always hoped for a bullet to the dome every once in a while.

    EDIT/SIDENOTE: By character death, I mean a charDeath I didn't plan. Saying goodbye to a character in a planned scene, while artistic, isn't the same as the thrill of racing for pink slips and the loser loses their car. That's just very thrilling to me and I never wanted to come across as a predatory player, so I never urged roleplay in that direction. Perhaps I should have.


  • Coder

    @Ghost

    Back in the glory days of CrackMUX I lost characters pretty reliably. I'd get some power, get some sheet, and then get taken out by a group of other people who were at odds with me... or because I killed the leader of the BSD hive in an elevator using dragonbreath rounds and a shotgun for a million dollars...



  • @Lithium said:

    @Ghost

    Back in the glory days of CrackMUX I lost characters pretty reliably. I'd get some power, get some sheet, and then get taken out by a group of other people who were at odds with me... or because I killed the leader of the BSD hive in an elevator using dragonbreath rounds and a shotgun for a million dollars...

    God, I love character death so much. An ACTUAL Player-Character death. NPCs need not apply. I'm not a PKer by any means, but I think that the Red Shirt trope applies to a story. You see it in TV. Every now and then a character, an important character, has to die to keep the dangerous feel of the story relevant.

    Just ask the cast of The Walking Dead. Shit, just ask the cast of The Walking Dead after this next half of this season is done. If my instincts are right, at least 2 characters that have been on the show for years won't make it to next season, and my money's on one of them being Glenn.


  • Admin

    Speaking as a Storyteller, not as a player.

    I always wanted PCs who are overwhelmed or afraid for their lives. IC speaking there are many brave people around, many stupid people around and many weird people around but few who actually let the plot get to them; who will take a long wide-eyed look at the insanity of a situation and allow it to make them go 'nope, nope, shit, I'm outta here' instead of ... well, instead of treating it like a TV show where it doesn't really matter what happens because everything will turn out okay in the end.

    It's rare to see it as a Storyteller. I bring in NPCs the characters have every reason to fear but they don't show it. They'll give lip, stand defiant, try to negotiate... but they won't ever lose their composure, back down or be intimidated. Sometimes I'd like that as well, to see the hopelessness sink in. Everyone conquers their fears, it seems.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel said:

    Speaking as a Storyteller, not as a player.

    I always wanted PCs who are overwhelmed or afraid for their lives. IC speaking there are many brave people around, many stupid people around and many weird people around but few who actually let the plot get to them; who will take a long wide-eyed look at the insanity of a situation and allow it to make them go 'nope, nope, shit, I'm outta here' instead of ... well, instead of treating it like a TV show where it doesn't really matter what happens because everything will turn out okay in the end.

    It's rare to see it as a Storyteller. I bring in NPCs the characters have every reason to fear but they don't show it. They'll give lip, stand defiant, try to negotiate... but they won't ever lose their composure, back down or be intimidated. Sometimes I'd like that as well, to see the hopelessness sink in. Everyone conquers their fears, it seems.

    Oooooooh, this all over. This is actually super frustrating as a GM. Also when characters seem to laugh at how dumb your NPCs are being when they're not being dumb???



  • @Arkandel said:

    Speaking as a Storyteller, not as a player.

    I always wanted PCs who are overwhelmed or afraid for their lives. IC speaking there are many brave people around, many stupid people around and many weird people around but few who actually let the plot get to them; who will take a long wide-eyed look at the insanity of a situation and allow it to make them go 'nope, nope, shit, I'm outta here' instead of ... well, instead of treating it like a TV show where it doesn't really matter what happens because everything will turn out okay in the end.

    It's rare to see it as a Storyteller. I bring in NPCs the characters have every reason to fear but they don't show it. They'll give lip, stand defiant, try to negotiate... but they won't ever lose their composure, back down or be intimidated. Sometimes I'd like that as well, to see the hopelessness sink in. Everyone conquers their fears, it seems.

    This reminds me of a Jedi character I played for one scene maybe? It was a Squib with an emphasis on healing/Consular, who was just being collected for becoming a padawan. The Squib are little rodent people, but I wasn't going for the cute-trope, but instead the little person in a large world trope.

    Anyway, I digress.

    In the scene, he came across Sith. SITH. Sith who were, unfortunately, posing cutting down innocent people in mid-air and riding them to the ground like a surfboard, mind you. It was a little...eh, but I got a lot of props for the way I roleplayed the character, because he was terrified.

    Terrified as in crawling backwards on his hands to get away, scrambling to get away, and running up to that shut cage partition between businesses, grabbing it, and tugging at it hard while calling for help.



  • Any scene where someone asks "Why are you doing this?" and has the patience (if needed IC/OOC) to figure it out. Some of my characters are very verbal and/or self aware. Some aren't. I put a lot of effort into having reasons and an IC way of thinking that can be observed or deduced. I do purposefully decide to do the wrong thing, and expect to be called on it IC.

    However, a lot of the time, it seems like players assume that there is nothing to negotiate or learn, and that any IC difficulty presented represents OOC difficulty they cannot or would rather not try to change.

    Makes me very grateful for the players who took the time and effort to learn the characters. It's very rewarding when they learned things I wasn't really aware I was projecting but are true.

    I had the best luck with that recently with Cessaly the Giant Squid Feral. Thank you to Chains, Alex, and Kay for making that pay off.

    And yes, I know it may come across as wanting people to pay all the attentions to me, and dig into me as an attention thing. I come by the habit as the long standing GM type for my groups over the last 30 years. NPCs are explorable, and not all will tell you everything. Sometimes they show, sometimes you need to dig with or without their help/knowledge. it might still be an attention thing, but I can honestly say I am focused on their efforts to understand and learn.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel said:

    It's rare to see it as a Storyteller. I bring in NPCs the characters have every reason to fear but they don't show it. They'll give lip, stand defiant, try to negotiate... but they won't ever lose their composure, back down or be intimidated. Sometimes I'd like that as well, to see the hopelessness sink in. Everyone conquers their fears, it seems.

    This is actually one of the /only/ things I truly love about the FATE system. Social Combat can be just as horrible as physical combat, up to and including some serious complications and consequences.

    Is it perfect? No, but the social character can be /deadly/.

    EDIT: Side note - This is why Super Hero games need to be more popular, so many people just want to play unrealistic super heroes who think they'll survive anything even if they don't run and hide when guns come out, they'd /better/ be a frikken super hero.

    Not in my world though, nobody is immortal in my games. People will die. There are no kid gloves and no PC or NPC is sacred.


  • Admin

    Ah, @Misadventure, you are just the person I wanted here for this. I have two problems with the existence of systems in scenes where I'd really like to evoke interesting reactions from characters.

    1. Systematizing the challenge makes it relatable, understandable. It's a clear solution, an obvious approach; you encounter something that's truly horrific and instead of having to figure out a proper reaction to it, you have a very easy way out.

    "Let's roll +init!"

    There have been many times when I was the ST when I wish players - rather than characters - didn't always have that option. For starters even one player doing it seals the deal; everyone rolls. It's all broken down neatly into numbers and specific actions from there, an old song and dance.

    1. Players who front-load the dice. And then roll constantly, going through their goddamn list of powers one at a time, best to worst, trying to solve the encounter rather than participate in it. It's one of the worst things in scenes, particularly because this kind of player spends so little posing and so much of it trying to throw bags of dice at the problem until it goes away.

    "So you walk into the room and here he stands, a cloaked figure who..."

    "I roll detect magic!"

    "There are elemental energies around him! So he lifts a skeletal hands and says..."

    "I roll read thoughts!"

    "Its thoughts are alien, you glimpse at flickering images and concepts instead of words and sentences, like dipping your hand in dirty oil. So the figure points a finger at you and says..."

    "I roll flame shield!"

    "Alright, done. So he says, 'Did you bring me what I seek, interlopers? For I...'"

    "I roll wits+occult. Do I know anything about skeletal figures?"

    "@^&^&*@#@#^&$"



  • You are dealing with players who do not fit your style of play, or do not pick up on your cues that the scene is not one of second by second action.

    Or they are annoying.

    Or they don't know how to do it any other way.

    Just this hour, I had someone say they wanted to DM D&D 5E for new to RPG players. I promised not to flood them with suggestions about how to enable the players, or alter the power dynamic between DM and players.



  • @Arkandel said:

    Ah, @Misadventure, you are just the person I wanted here for this. I have two problems with the existence of systems in scenes where I'd really like to evoke interesting reactions from characters.

    1. Systematizing the challenge makes it relatable, understandable. It's a clear solution, an obvious approach; you encounter something that's truly horrific and instead of having to figure out a proper reaction to it, you have a very easy way out.

    "Let's roll +init!"

    There have been many times when I was the ST when I wish players - rather than characters - didn't always have that option. For starters even one player doing it seals the deal; everyone rolls. It's all broken down neatly into numbers and specific actions from there, an old song and dance.

    1. Players who front-load the dice. And then roll constantly, going through their goddamn list of powers one at a time, best to worst, trying to solve the encounter rather than participate in it. It's one of the worst things in scenes, particularly because this kind of player spends so little posing and so much of it trying to throw bags of dice at the problem until it goes away.

    "So you walk into the room and here he stands, a cloaked figure who..."

    "I roll detect magic!"

    "There are elemental energies around him! So he lifts a skeletal hands and says..."

    "I roll read thoughts!"

    "Its thoughts are alien, you glimpse at flickering images and concepts instead of words and sentences, like dipping your hand in dirty oil. So the figure points a finger at you and says..."

    "I roll flame shield!"

    "Alright, done. So he says, 'Did you bring me what I seek, interlopers? For I...'"

    "I roll wits+occult. Do I know anything about skeletal figures?"

    "@^&^&*@#@#^&$"

    I have a lot of trouble with this as a GM, even in a tabletop setting. I kind of have issues with this wherever I go that ends in "...gaming"

    I want to ask "Why would your character immediately suspect the NPC is lying? Just because you know what kind of creature it may be doesn't mean your character knows." You spend hours thinking of a plot, a scenario, or a good long term bad guy and 10 minutes into the first meeting it's GobbleGobbleGobbleBURP or you have to ask yourself if you need to pull the dreaded ST fiat.



  • On the other hand, people can often hear something that triggers a more cautious/suspicious approach to the whole thing. Sense deception is largely a passive skill. Sitting back and analyzing a conversation in regards to everything else you think you know about the topic etc would be the active application, or a long term questionnaire/interrogation where you try to find inconsistencies over time and varied questions on the same topic.


  • Admin

    @Misadventure, I could go as far as to say the mechanics are a symptom and that the underlying problem are players refusing to understand they're supposed to be collaborating with each other and the ST, not winning.

    Storytelling isn't that much unlike playing a character, you still need to be entertained. In the past I actually had characters who posed once - right at the beginning - and then did nothing else anyone else could see for the rest of the scene other than page me with what their character was rolling. Even if we assume the Storyteller enjoys adjudicating mechanics and dispensing rulings how much fun can that possibly be for the rest of the people in that scene? What are they given to play off of and interact with?

    At least if such players understood the objective of a challenge is not to win it but to participate and entertain. Those are the kinds of scenes I want to see.



  • Then make sure your players know this. If you put stats, and skills, and moves and consequences in front of them, they will think that's what is important.

    If you say "I assume your character will use their skills of Sense Deception, Read Emotions, FactCheck, etc automatically. I will ask you to roll, or even roll for you as needed, and will give you that information as needed" voila, you've told them you'll let them know when they need to use the game system.

    I go by the idea that the character is the expert/idiot, the player doesn't have to have the skills they are RPing, nor do they need to remind me they might use them. This goes against the classic dungeon crawl where the players asking questions is the main form of play. The Players beat the dungeon, not the characters.



  • @Misadventure I remember on some game back in the day, can't remember which one, I was roleplaying a character who was naive to a plot/danger. I was allowing the threat to expose itself to force a reaction, but with nothing in-scene suggesting my character should be alarmed in any way, I just roleplayed ignorant to the threat. Someone actually paged me to ask "Why are you doing that to yourself? Are you trying to get your character killed on purpose?"

    Some people game for xp/winning, some people game for sex, and some people game for story. I have my preference, but when you mix GM and players with different preferences, it gets awkward. My own tabletop group has said many times that they game to relax, to have fun, and to feel good, so they don't like losing, and so I have a lot of issues where nearly every d20 roll comes up 17+


  • Politics

    @Arkandel said:

    It's rare to see it as a Storyteller. I bring in NPCs the characters have every reason to fear but they don't show it. They'll give lip, stand defiant, try to negotiate... but they won't ever lose their composure, back down or be intimidated. Sometimes I'd like that as well, to see the hopelessness sink in.

    It is rare. You need the right players with the right characters; while I am most happy being socially awkward and "normal," even as a super, if I get into a fight with someone as a PC like Clarice was, the fight will be cold, calculated, and utterly violent. And that happens a lot.

    Here's to hoping shit changes.



  • @ghost The desires of your group are important to consider. There are many possibilities to you group issue:

    Let the wookie win. Give them things that under challange, and let them run amok.

    Design for game mechanic play if they are into all the rules and powers and tactics.

    Make the game about dealing with people and decisions, and whatever you choose you can back with skills, though that doesn't always give you the best end results.

    Change games to ones where rolls aren't as common.

    Change a game to one where they can roll against each other, and suddenly they see just how much they just want to win isn't sustainable. I recommend Apocalypse engine games for this.

    Ask if they want to be spoon fed praise and victory, or might want actual thing they can actually over come with some effort?

    Play with others.

    Just get away from running a game for players who are trying to play something else.



  • @Misadventure said:

    I had the best luck with that recently with Cessaly the Giant Squid Feral. Thank you to Chains, Alex, and Kay for making that pay off.

    Admittedly Cessaly was some of the best RP I had. You're welcome and thank you.



  • @Arkandel said:

    It's rare to see it as a Storyteller. I bring in NPCs the characters have every reason to fear but they don't show it. They'll give lip, stand defiant, try to negotiate... but they won't ever lose their composure, back down or be intimidated. Sometimes I'd like that as well, to see the hopelessness sink in. Everyone conquers their fears, it seems.

    Man. This depends really, really heavily on MU culture. In a game where characters die often on plots and there's not full trust in the ST, you get to see some hysterical degrees of cowardice that are a full 180 from your experiences by players who are very attached to their characters but still feel obligated to go on plots.

    One of my most memorable scenes was a plot involving characters going behind enemy lines, and an extremely well-liked player character got crippled as enemy forces were closing in. The other player characters had one of the most heated IC arguments I've ever seen about whether to have a last stand or abandon him until the officer in charge ordered us to abandon him, so that player lost his character. One of the most intense scenes I've done, and had very powerful elements that got to showcase heroism vs pragmatism in the face of hopelessness. Great RP.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel said:

    Speaking as a Storyteller, not as a player.
    I always wanted PCs who are overwhelmed or afraid for their lives.

    Seriously. There have been two times where I've been running plots and nearly had a total player kill just because nobody would listen to IC and OOC advice to just RUN AWAY when they were ambushed and badly outnumbered!

    But it's not all bad. One of my favorite logs was from The Greatest Generation, where the characters' ship was attacked by a U-Boat on the way to Gallipoli and all they could do was cower in the cargo hold and hope the ship didn't sink.


 

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